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Thursday, 13 December 2012 17:29

Rothko Vandal Gets Two Years in Jail

On October 6, 2012, Vladimir Umanets, entered the Tate Modern in London and defaced the one of the museum’s most treasured paintings, a mural by Mark Rothko (1903-1970). Born Wlodzimierz Umaniec in Poland, 26-year-old Umanets currently lives in England.

Umanets vandalized Rothko’s Black on Maroon (1958) by writing his name in black paint along with “A Potential Piece of Yellowism” in the corner of the canvas. Umanets claimed that his defacement was an artistic act and compared himself to Marcel Duchamp, a pioneer of conceptual art known for his appropriation of objects.

Umanets appeared at Inner London crown court on December 13 and was given two years in jail by Judge Roger Chapple. Umanets had pleaded guilty at a previous hearing.

The Rothko mural was originally intended for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York and was given to the Tate as a gift from the artist in 1969. The Tate has made plans to restore the work, but the process will not be an easy one. Rothko often used unusual materials, such as eggs and glue, making restoration especially difficult. Officials estimate that the project will cost nearly $325,0000 and will take around 20 months to complete.

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Monday, 08 October 2012 12:18

Rothko Painting Defaced at the Tate

One of Mark Rothko’s Seagram murals was defaced on Sunday at the Tate Modern. Black on Maroon (1958), which is valued at tens of millions of dollars, was a gift to the museum by the Modernist artist.

The defacer, Vladimir Umanets, scrawled “Vladimir Umanets, A Potential Piece of Yellowism.” in black ink in the lower right-hand corner of the piece. Umanets claims that it was not an act of vandalism as he was adding something new to the piece and acting in line with the bizarre art movement, Yellowism.

One of modern art’s most important figures, Rothko painted Black on Maroon as part of a series originally commissioned by the Four Season in New York City which was located in the Seagram Building, a renowned modernist skyscraper. Rothko decided not to give the paintings to the Four Seasons upon completion because he did not want them to become a backdrop for wealthy diners. In 1965 he donated some of the works to the Tate and nine were delivered in 1970 on the day the artist died.

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